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Late night house fire claims the life of Brooksville man

Posted at 7:20 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 19:20:48-04

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- A fire claims the life of a Brooksville man, and even though he lived just 500 feet from the fire station, neighbors say there was nothing they could do.

Magdiel Castro said he woke to yelling and then saw that his neighbor's house was in flames.

"We jumped the fence to try and help," Castro said.

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Castro says he and his family members called 911 then ran over to help but the flames were too intense.

Hernando County Fire Station 11 is on the same block and Castro says they showed up almost immediately after the call. But as they got on scene the roof caved in.

"The house was burning too fast," Castro said.

Judy Johnson lives catty-corner behind the home. She says it was a helpless feeling to just watch.

"I just prayed for him," Johnson said.

Johnson says the man, who has still not been identified by officials, was her first friend when she moved here 35 years ago.

"I didn’t know anyone down here, any women, so when I got married he was my bridesmaid," said Johnson.

The man had little family, according to neighbors, and enjoyed being retired.

"But if you needed him he was right here to help do whatever," Johnson said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Hernando County Fire wants to remind people to check the batteries in their smoke detectors to help prevent something like this from happening to them or their loved ones.